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New Monitor Speakers

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New Monitor Speakers

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Nov 27, 2017 7:25 pm

I've nearly finished my 'Old Studio Rebuild' and am thinking about replacing my ageing Kef 104AB monitors with something a little more suited to a 4 x 4 metre room. The Kefs are good (I've been told) and I've had them for nearly 40 years but they are quite big and probably introduce more low end than is ideal for my room.

So, suggestions please? I'm looking for something a little bigger than small nearfields that will compliment my other gear (see below) and active/powered. They will be sited in the alcove in front of the big bass trap so bass radiating from the back should be reasonably well controlled. Budget is probably around £500 but could spend more (or less) to get the right speakers.

The room is roughly 3.8 x 3.7 x 1.9 metres (yes, I know......) and will have what I hope will be a reasonable amount of bass trapping and broad band absorbers (and will add more if necessarily). The main gear is my X32 Compact as a desk and interface recording to Reaper on an old Mac Pro (more than sufficient for my needs). I have a fairly decent selection of mics (nothing expensive but, SE2200, Blue Reactor, Calrec CB20C, AKG C451/CK1, Beta 57, SE-H1 and a few others). The room also gets used for rehearsals and has a small drum kit, bass and guitar amps and a Keyboard or two.
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Re: New Monitor Speakers

Postby James Perrett » Mon Nov 27, 2017 7:41 pm

My first reaction when hearing the little Neumann KH120's in my studio was how did they manage to get that much bass out of a small speaker? I suspect your KEF's don't put out much more bass than many smaller modern monitors so I'd be very tempted to keep them - at least you know that what is coming out of the speakers is fairly accurate and I think you'll have to double your budget to get anything acceptable to someone used to using speakers like yours.
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Re: New Monitor Speakers

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Nov 27, 2017 7:50 pm

I'm certainly willing to consider that option, I do have a soft spot for them after all this time. But budget could be streched to 'enough' if I see/hear something I like. FWIW I drive the Kefs with a Sugden A48 (which I've had nearly as long) while my Quad 522 is awaiting repair....
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Re: New Monitor Speakers

Postby blinddrew » Mon Nov 27, 2017 8:21 pm

The Equator D5s seem to have a good reputation in that price bracket and are front ported - I've only had a quick listen to them in a shop though so couldn't give a proper recommendation.
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Re: New Monitor Speakers

Postby James Perrett » Mon Nov 27, 2017 8:57 pm

I'd suggest that the Neumann KH120's are about the cheapest speakers you should look at - although you might get something secondhand closer to your price range. As you already have an amplifier you may find some decent used passive speakers in your price range.
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Re: New Monitor Speakers

Postby Mike Stranks » Mon Nov 27, 2017 8:58 pm

blinddrew wrote:The Equator D5s seem to have a good reputation in that price bracket and are front ported - I've only had a quick listen to them in a shop though so couldn't give a proper recommendation.

On the other hand... the extended thoughts of a knowledgeable contributor here (sadly no longer posting... :frown: )

https://www.soundonsound.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=32015
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Re: New Monitor Speakers

Postby blinddrew » Mon Nov 27, 2017 9:29 pm

Ah, before my time that, but a thorough review. Thanks Mike :)
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Re: New Monitor Speakers

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Nov 27, 2017 11:56 pm

James Perrett wrote:I'd suggest that the Neumann KH120's are about the cheapest speakers you should look at - although you might get something secondhand closer to your price range. As you already have an amplifier you may find some decent used passive speakers in your price range.

My 104ABs were home built from a "Kef Kit 104" (something you could do back in the late '70s). Consequently the cabs are less that pretty, though they performed exactly to spec in the studios we built them for. The drivers have since been replaced by closely specced Peerless (IIRC) drivers as the originals are no longer in production. As far as I can tell they (and I have been reasonably reliably informed that they should) sound the same as before.

If I don't replace them (and, as kit builds, they have no significant value especially due to the replacement drivers) I may get some nice cabs built to spec.

BTW one of the 'issues' is the the positioning of the tweeter, they came with a ready routed panel for the tweeter, B200 bass driver and crossover panel but they are not handed and the tweeter and B200 in both left and right are to left of centre in the cabinet (the "auxiliary bass driver", a B139 elliptical bass unit but without a magnet/voice coil assembly is central). From a purely aesthetic POV if nothing else I may correct this.

If anybody is trying to restore a set, I do have a couple of B139s, a couple of T27s and IIRC a single B200, all working last time I had them in a box and wired up. There are also a pair of Kef Concerto crossovers (the drivers were from a pair I built for the living room about the same time). Another B200 would allow me to restore the 104s to original condition though I am led to believe the replacement drivers are equal or better and have superior power handling.

FWIW I also have a pair of Wilmslow Audio LS3s (which were a copy of the Rodgers LS3a beloved of so many Hi Fi buffs back in the '70s). They have no bottom end to speak of but the detail and stereo image is excellent and they sat on my desk next to my office monitor until early this year and the flood...... Probably not for sale though but the space available won't allow them and the 104s either side of the computer monitor.....
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Re: New Monitor Speakers

Postby John Willett » Tue Nov 28, 2017 11:16 am

James Perrett wrote:I'd suggest that the Neumann KH120's are about the cheapest speakers you should look at

I would agree - monitors you can really trust tend to be £1k and over.

I had the forerunner to the KH120 - the K+H O110D - before I upgraded and used these as my location monitors.

The bass on the KH120 (and O110) goes down smoothly and accurately to about 53/55Hz and they are accurate, rather than being designed to "sound good".
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Re: New Monitor Speakers

Postby Mike Stranks » Tue Nov 28, 2017 2:26 pm

John Willett wrote:... monitors you can really trust tend to be £1k and over.

Sigh! Looks like a significant number of us will have to jack this lark in and take up crochet...

Sound on Crochet anyone? :lol:
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Re: New Monitor Speakers

Postby Wonks » Tue Nov 28, 2017 3:16 pm

For those with very reduced HF frequency response, I suppose there could be a market for a main driver-only monitor that does away with a HF tweeter and crossover (far less expense) and just concentrates on giving accurate mids and an extended low-end.

The MS-1a (or maybe MS-1eh?) is just waiting to be designed. ;)
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Re: New Monitor Speakers

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Nov 28, 2017 3:19 pm

Wasn't that called an Auratone? :D

H
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Re: New Monitor Speakers

Postby Wonks » Tue Nov 28, 2017 3:26 pm

Mids, yes, extended low end, no.
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Re: New Monitor Speakers

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Nov 28, 2017 3:34 pm

Ah yes. True...
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Re: New Monitor Speakers

Postby James Perrett » Tue Nov 28, 2017 11:51 pm

When I first got into audio there were a few speakers that used a single voice coil with a main cone and a smaller separate cone in the middle. The Eagle FR8 was one that comes to mind although I think EMI may have made something similar. This gave a slight improvement in treble response but it never struck me as being very accurate compared to a proper 2 way speaker combination. Wonks - were you thinking of Dave (ef37a) with your idea?

I was amazed to find someone recently with a new expensive hifi system that used the same principle. The speakers sounded just as bad as I remembered from the old Eagles but the system's owner though it sounded great. (The same system also had a fair bit of hum thanks to the owners refusal to use screened cables anywhere).
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